BlogGames for Kids15 Best PE Running Games For Kids

15 Best PE Running Games For Kids

Some of the best running games for kids fill their day with immense joy and excitement. You can have your kids burn off excess energy, develop gross motor skills, and have greater coordination with these activities.

They’re also a great way to introduce workouts for kids into the daily routine, so that your child benefits from physical movement under the sun. You can encourage your children to go outside of their comfort zone and challenge their limits in outdoor games for kids.

What’s important here is to remember to let the kids have fun activities and games with complete enjoyment. You want them to enjoy the running activities as much as possible so that they’re fully engaged in the event.

Let’s check out some of the most fun running games for kids for their overall development.

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15 Amazing Running Games to Make Exercising More Exciting

Kids running through an obstacle course

1. Ready? Run!

An interesting and challenging running activity can involve kids running to designated zones when they hear the phrase – “Ready? Run to X”. You can split a field or a playground into 5-6 designated areas, where the kids will have to run to when they hear the phrase.

You can also make it more interesting by adding riddles for kids prior to running to specific zones. This is one of the running games for kids involving a mix of mental calculation and physical effort.

How to play: You need to find a large enough space for the kids to run to, like a garden or a field.  

Equipment required: Markers, sheets of paper, poles, stands, and cloth.  

2. Finish a lap? Now hop!

This is one of the funnier running activities for kids, which can be done by kids of all ages. You can have your children run laps around a playground but have them switch up their running style with each lap.

They can hop for the second lap, run backwards for the third lap, long-jump for the fourth lap, and so on. These sports running games for kids help them strengthen their muscles and develop their coordination skills. They’re one of the best running games to play outside. 

How to play: You will need a large field or playground to execute this running activity.   

Equipment required: None.

3. Running scavenger hunt

The running scavenger hunt is a unique way to make the age-old activity more exciting. You can give your kids a list of things to collect while giving them a shorter time frame to participate in the activity.

This will encourage them to run faster and collect items spread across the yard. They also have to dig up the grass to find special collectables and jump across hoops and boxes to get to their next missions.

You can make the activity more interesting by basing the hunt on a theme, such as pirates, cartoons, movie based, etc. This adds an element of immersion, making kids that much more excited about gathering different items.

How to play: You can have a group of friends focus on a sheet of items, with various challenges introduced across the yard. You can give them less than 4 minutes to collect everything. Really, a fun group game for kids!

Equipment required: Boxes, hula-hoops, toys, gifts, sweets, ropes, etc.

4. Water-balloon running

Some of the best running games for boys involve water balloons and water guns. You can have your kids run away from each other as they try to successfully hit their targets with a water balloon. Kids can run around circles, straight paths, or in zig-zag patterns to avoid getting hit.

If you’re in a smaller yard or a playground area, then you can also work with water guns instead of water balloons. They tend to leave a smaller splash area within a specified zone. You can also add color in the water balloons for a casual visual learning experience.

How to play: You can dedicate a specific wet area where kids can participate in this activity. 

Equipment required: Water balloons, colors, change of clothes. 

5. The crocodile running activity

The crocodile activity involves a group of kids asking one child (the crocodile) about what color they want. If the crocodile says red, then all the kids must run around and grab any item in the color red. This is one of the more fun running games for kids that is interactive and based on quick-thinking.

It’s one of the most engaging running games for girls and boys as it involves last-minute decision-making, and color identification. It’s also a great way to burn off excess energy, before settling down for a nice picnic lunch.

Related Reading: Best Classroom Games to Help Teachers Elevate Their Efforts

How to play: You need a large group of kids for the activity in an open playground area.   

Equipment required: Toys, clothes, and bags of different colors.   

6. The obstacle course

You can set up a customized obstacle course, with some cones, boxes, rope, and hoops. You can have your kids clear the obstacle course, while performing predetermined tasks as they cross each pathway.

The obstacle course can also have fun challenges within each phase, such as riddles, quizzes, and patterns in games. You can make the activity more interesting with the right theme, as well as make it more fun by having them participate in new events.

How to play: You will need to create an obstacle course based on different difficulty levels for kids. .  

Equipment required: Props, boxes, ropes, cones, pillows, sheets, etc.    

7. Simon Says, with running

The way that you can make Simon Says more interesting is by adding a running and time-based element to it. You can have your kids run and perform the specified activity within 20 seconds. You can also encourage them to run to their objectives.

The funny activity makes running that much more interesting, as it provides a sense of comical relief when kids accidentally run to perform an activity that hasn’t been tagged with “Simon Says”. You can add some funny props, toys, objects, and gifts, to make things more interesting.

How to play: You’ll need a large playground with lots of interesting and unique objects, such as a slide, a seesaw, a sandcastle area, etc.

Equipment required: None.

8. Match your pair!

This running activity is an interesting one as it combines quick-thinking, pattern identification, and matching in game. Two groups of kids can find their matching pair, if you provide the right prompt. You can say something like, “Find someone with the same hair color”, or “Find someone with a red shirt”.

You can have the kids run around in a large playground setting to find their matching pair. Once they’re paired up enough times, you can talk about the power of diversity and how we’re all similar despite being different.

How to play: You’ll need several groups of kids wearing different colored clothes.  

Equipment required: None.

9. Catch me if you can!

You can play this running activity with a large group of kids, with one of them being the catcher and the others being the runners. The kids will have to yell out the phrase “Catch me if you can!” when the catcher comes close to the runners.

The running activity strengthens the cardiovascular system of the kids, as they giggle their way through a field. You can even participate in the activity as a second catcher and surprise them as they run away. This is a fun team building activity for kids!

How to play: You’ll have to organize this running activity in a large playground area, and have the kids run in a specified path or within a circle.

Equipment required: None.

10. Mother, may I?

In “Mother, may I?”, you can have your kids line up in the far corner of a playground and ask them to move forward several steps. You can say something like – “Susie, move 6 steps ahead”, or “Bobby, move three steps backwards.” The kids will have to respond with the question – “Mother, may I?”.

If they forget to do so, then they need to stay in the same place. The objective of the running activity is to have your children reach a certain marker in the quickest way possible. By remembering the catchphrase, they can focus on their patience, memory, and coordination skills.

How to play: Kids love this activity, and you can round up a bunch of them in a large playground area.

Equipment required: None.

Related Reading: Indoor Games For Kids that Improve Memory, Cognition, & Creativity

11. Ghosthunters unite!

In Ghosthunters, you can assign one kid to be a ghost and the rest as ghost hunters. You can ask the ghost to hide in a corner, inside an indoor area, behind a tree, and in any other place they can find. The ghost hunters will have to find the ghost and yell out “I found the ghost!”.

The ghost hunter will need at least 3 of their friends to join in and catch the ghost. This is a great running activity that is theme-based, interactive, and fun to do during the day and at nighttime. You can even set-up some nice decorations that make the activity spookier for older kids.

How to play: You’ll need a large playground for this running game for kids, as you prepare multiple hiding spots that little ones can use during the activity.  

Equipment required: Bedsheets, torch lights, and some Halloween props.  

12. Follow the trail

You can create an adventure based running game that is designed to test the skill of deductive reasoning. You can hide clues that lead teams from one corner to another, giving them a set route to run and follow through.

Clues can be given in the form of riddles, straight answers, or math trivia questions for kids. You can create an interesting running trail that the kids will have to run through in a highly specific pattern. You can maximize the space available by making a more complicated trail.

How to play: You can allow a larger group of kids to be paired up or go solo when running from one location to another.

Equipment required: Toys, props, sheets of paper, task sheet.

13. Let’s build a chain

In this running-based activity, you can have one seeker chase a handful of runners around a park. Once caught, the runner becomes a part of the seeker’s chain by holding their hand. The seekers must then catch other runners, while holding their hands throughout the activity.

This is a great way to develop team building, coordination, and decision-making. You can have your kids pair up and start chasing other kids or allow them to decide whom they’d like to partner up with.

How to play: You will need a large playground area for the kids to run around in, so that they can make a larger chain to capture more kids.  

Equipment required: None.

14. Filling up the bucket

You can have your kids participate in this running exercise, involving filling up buckets with water. You can even add color to the water to make it more visually engaging for younger kids. Kids will have to use cups, pans, and other objects they find hidden within the playground.

You can add a set of obstacles such as boxes, cones, and tubes, to make it more challenging for the children as well. You can set a shorter timer for the kids to complete the task to encourage them to run and get some exercise in.

How to play: You can have a group of kids run a straight line from one end to another and fill up an empty bucket with water using a range of cups and pans.   

Equipment required: Water, bucket, cups, colors, balloons.

15. Spot something

You can give your kids a task list of different objects around a playground. You can encourage them to run around and spot these objects to earn points. You can give educational toys to kids, based on how many points they earn throughout each running activity.

You can also make it more challenging by having them spot things in different areas. Nests, acorns, lily pads, and other unique objects will make it more engaging for them. You can set a shorter timer for them to expedite their missions.

How to play: You can pick out trails, playgrounds, parks, zoos, and other unique places for them to go on a hunt.

Equipment required: Stationery.

Related Reading: Fun Free Games for Kids to Play Online

What Are The Benefits of Running Games For Kids?

Kids enjoying running activities

There are several benefits of running games for kids, especially as they get older. You want them to explore new ways of strength and conditioning at an early age, while also making them more confident in their physical self.

Kids also tend to be calmer after they’ve had some time outside participating in running activities. You can increase the focus of your kids on homework in a fun way after they’ve participated in running games for kids. There are cognitive benefits to running outside in activities that boost brain function and output.

Kids can strengthen their bones and muscles at an early age by being more active and improving their overall cardiovascular fitness levels. You can help them lower anxiousness, boost mood, and improve confidence overall.

Related Reading: Best Educational Games for Kids by Subjects & Grades


A large group of children participating in running activities

Your kids can benefit significantly from the right running activities and exercises. You can make physical activity that much more exciting with the right structure and framework as well. These PE running games for kids improve cognitive and physical output long-term, making them that much more impactful at an early age.

So, what are you waiting for? Get organizing and start these running games for kids today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I make running games more interesting for kids?

You can make running based activities more interesting by having them be centered around a funny theme or engaging narrative.

How do I improve participation in running exercises?

By making exercises fun-filled and exciting, you can boost kids’participation. You can also do them in larger groups for more and social bonding and social emotional learning.

Is running recommended for younger kids?

Yes, kids can naturally explore their ability to run at an early age.

Should kids run every day in running activities?

Ideally, it depends on whether running every day is impacting their daily routine, their schoolwork, their mood, and energy levels.

Amy Paige
Amy Paige has been teaching for the last 12 years. She’s a late tech convert who loves to utilize technology in her classroom to motivate students and prepare them for the 21st century.
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